11:57PM, Wednesday 08 May 2019
Flackwell Heath U18 2-0 Maidenhead United U18
Flackwell Heath U18s did not let the rain dampen their celebrations as they overcame a tough Maidenhead United U18 side to claim the Allied Counties Youth League Cup, with a 2-0 victory.
A tight first half saw no goals, as both teams showed just why they made it to the final. But it was the young Heathens who struck the first blow, as Ashely Howell’s strike from range took a deflection, wrongfooting Fred Chapman in the Maidenhead goal to give Flackwell the lead.
If there was a slight fortune on the first goal, then the second was pure inspiration from Luke Chappelle hitting a volley from 50-yards after Chapman had raced out to clear the ball. The goal sparked euphoria as the young Heathens celebrated in front of the crowd gathered at Stag Meadow.
From the get-go, it was plain to see why Maidenhead and Flackwell had finished the season in second and third place respectively, as neither side looked likely to blink in a keenly contested final.
Lewis Boniface was the first to test his luck from the edge of the box for Maidenhead, but his effort was well blocked by the mountain of bodies in the Flackwell box.
Neither side could really get a foothold in the game, but defensively the young Heathens marshalled the Maidenhead front line well and when given the chance to go forward did so well, especially in wide areas. Faris Chniba was a constant thorn in the young Magpies side, with his blistering pace and probing runs from the left giving the defenders plenty of food for thought.
On the half hour mark the game started to become stretched as Brad Farren could not make the right contact with is shot before Flackwell countered with Chniba’s low drive across goal blocked and turned away from harm. The Flackwell winger was at it again moments later, as he tried his luck from range, forcing the first real save of the match for Chapman.
The sides went into the break level, with both sides still in with a shout of claiming the silverware.
The second half started with a downpour of rain as Maidenhead were denied a one on one by some brilliant last ditch defending from Morgan Tony-Green. The young Magpies started the brighter of the two but could have been reduced to 10 men after Kam Gardner looked to have pulled back a Flackwell forward running free on goal, but the referee deemed it a yellow card offence, with Chapman racing out to close down the oncoming striker.
Both sides began to make changes after the hour mark to freshen things up and it was Howell who came off the Flackwell bench to open the scoring, moments after Brad Farren looped an effort wide from a tight angle.
The winger took just five minutes to make his impact on the game, cutting in from the left-hand side and hitting a low shot, that took a big deflection on its way through, wrongfooting Chapman and nestling into the bottom right-hand corner of the Maidenhead goal.
Wild celebrations broke out on the pitch and in the stands as Flackwell drew first blood – but it was nothing compared to the celebrations of the second goal. That, however, is for later, as moments after the opener Flackwell nearly doubled their lead, as Chniba’s strike from the edge of the box was carried away by Chapman.
Maidenhead piled forward in search of an equaliser to take things to penalties they, and if not from some last ditch defending would likely have had it after Flackwell bodies did well to snuff out a late volley from the young Magpies.
It was to be the last chance for Maidenhead as minutes later Flackwell scored a goal fit to win any cup final. Chapman did well to race out of his goal to deny the Heathens a chance, but his clearance fell to the feet of Chappelle, who, took one touch before looping a high-arching volley from 50-yards into the back of the net before being bundled to the ground in front of the cheering ground by his teammates before the final whistle confirmed Flackwell as the 2019 Allied Counties Youth League cup champions.
Elsewhere, Marlow United exorcised some demons as a late Qwam Thomas free-kick saw them complete a league and cup double to end the season by winning the BTC Cup.
Marlow edged out fellow Thames Valley Premier League side Mortimer 2-1 at the Madejski stadium, but they had to do it the hard way after Matthew Fox gave Mortimer the lead in the first half.
Chris Hurst equalised early in the second as the Flying Blues began to stretch their wings.
With five minutes to go, when it looked like nothing could separate the sides, up stepped Thomas to put home a long range free-kick to hand Marlow the BTC Cup.
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